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Societal Transformation

In Germany, numerous players in political discourse emphasize the importance of an extensive transformation of politics, economy and society, in order to do justice to the challenges of a sustainable development. But what is exactly societal transformation? At the FFU, we understand societal transformation to be a long process that comprises of extensive changes in different areas of the society (subsystems) – ranging from production and consumption patterns to legal concepts, from types of organisations to cultural practices and beliefs. These changes in individual subsystems are interdependent; this means that the changes in one subsystem will influence changes in another. Societal transformation is then the result when different changes in subsystems reinforce each other and give overall development of society a direction (e.g. sustainability). During the transformation processes, the ‘old’ and ‘new’ still coexist (e.g. in the form of technologies, social norms, economic and political systems). Only in the course of a transformation –by overcoming path dependencies and barriers – a direction will emerge in which transformative processes will change a society.
The FFU is engaged in different projects with the preconditions for and approaches to governing the transformation towards a sustainable society.